Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My experience with herbal remedies for depression

If you've known me very long, or read this blog much, you know that I tend to prefer the home remedy (that is ideally also natural) to visiting the doctor.  We have a standing joke at our home that I don't take a sick kid to the doctor unless I honestly believe that they might not fully recover.

So it follows that I would do research on depression.  In reality, I think most of my research on herbal ways to treat depression was in an effort not to admit that I was struggling with depression.

I haven't, ever, taken much in any attempt to treat depression.  This is mostly due to two reasons. 1) Any depression I've fought has always been somewhat mild.  2) I've been breastfeeding or pregnant for over eight consecutive years now.

That said, my research into treating depression herbally yielded one fact that surprised me.  Not that it'll surprise you -- I'm just a dunce.

Depression is treated as "fatigue".

Now, when I think about it, especially recently, I've felt like life really sucks.  And I've realized that it feels this way because I'm tired.  Really really tired.  And when you're tired, you lack motivation to keep doing anything.  It all gets blah.

It makes me wonder if having hope requires a certain amount of energy.

Anyway, enough blabbering, on to the herbs.  Here's what's recommended by the green book:

Gotu Kola
Peppermint leave
Ginger root

When I'm pregnant or nursing, I feel comfortable taking a ginger root and kelp blend with a tiny amount of cayenne in it.  I don't feel comfortable taking a very big amount of cayenne when I'm pregnant.   This blend helps me when I'm feeling low on energy and cold.  I'm hoping to increase the amount of cayenne in it now that I'm not pregnant and very nearly done nursing.

Ginger root is also great for pregnancy nausea -- by far the best thing I've found for it yet.  I buy it as a candy and suck it.  Yum!

And peppermint tea is wonderful all by itself.

I have never tried ginseng or gotu kola.  But I think I'll plan to pick up some ginseng next time I visit the bulk herbs store.  From my meager amount of research, it's kind of a "good for whatever ails ye" herb.

I've had wonderful results from taking bee pollen for mild depression.  You can get it in capsules or in bulk powder.  I get it in capsules.  I would describe it's effect as just taking the edge off.  It gives a small boost in energy -- just enough so that I can function again.  It's very much safe during breastfeeding.  But not so much during pregnancy.  It's been associated with preterm labor, and I also had preterm labor when I took it while pregnant (though I suspect that it was because I overdid it with the energy boost).

Web searches will point you to the popular St. John's Wart for depression.  And while I know very little about it, it's supposed to work well.  I also noted that folic acid (Vitamin B9) is reported to be low in depressed individuals -- so eat your dark leafy greens!   Finally, fish oil was suggested as aiding in recovery from depression.  I found this humorous, since I've been taking fish oil regularly for the first time this winter, and have struggled more this winter with depression (or at least negative thoughts) than for a long time.  But fish oil is good for you, whether or not it actually helps in this way.

Honestly, though, this is only a small portion of the ammunition to fight the battle for your mind.  Learn to take your thoughts captive, and try some of my other suggestions.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Amy! I started taking Vitamin B12 regularly, and fish oil. I think its helping, but its old been a week or so. I'm recently getting very interested in nutrition and herbs! It's fun!